1 - Notification of when your question has been answered. (Optional)
HI Lisa, i love you writing, and since discovering your blog have been reading back through the archives. One thing that pops up from time to time is you mentioning retiring and then returning to work. Did you write about what led your descision to do both? I would like to read the 'back story'. Thank you, I appreciate your blog immensely. Kind regards, Meaghan
Thank you for saying hello.
I have written about how it all occurred. Everything should be detailed, somewhere on the blog. But in brief, the company I was working for in 2009 needed to cut back, and I was in a position to be able to absorb the layoff, so I did. I came back to work when someone I'd worked for before presented me with an opportunity that I found too compelling to turn down.
Hi there, I am loving your posts. I have a dilemma as of late/ I have let my hair be itself which means from dark brown to gray/ Iy os a pretty gray-silver with remaining hints of darkness here and there. I am lightly tan-olive with turquoise eyes. I can no longer wear the colors I used to and I feel overwhelmed in the black I used to adore. I work outside (livestock) and need advice how to dress for my look now. I am 60, healthy and pretty darn happy. HOW to look like a mature adult running a livestock facility able to have meetings with people and not be in my dirty t shirts?? I need to feel relaxed, no dresses!! Jeans are always the bottom half. Cowboy style boots also.
What a great question. Sounds to me like a perfect setup for gray/silver button front tops and silver jewelry - assuming your skintone isn't so olive that silver looks bad. Now that I think about it, this all depends on your skintone. As we get older, and our facial coloration reverts to the mean, i.e. kind of starts to be all the same:), if you don't want Extreme Style than you have to take the cue from either hair or skin, and work a subtle color palette.
So if you aren't wearing black, but you like monochrome neutrals, then do you look better in brown or gray? Silver or gold? Those answers should guide you towards what else to wear. I have to say, I love the look of an older cowgirl - the bootleg jeans, the wide belt, the button front, the boots, the braid - if that works for your environment.
Hello, Lisa, I was one of the lucky recipients of your bumper sticker reading "That Behavior is not Very Attractive." Unfortunately, I no longer own that car, but I would dearly love to have one for my current vehicle, which in the classic Wasp style is a 10-year-old Volvo. Are there any left? I will, of course, send a SASE.
The bumper stickers are all gone:(. Perhaps I should reissue them?
So glad you're doing this! My question, having read the post on field jackets: What do you recommend when some item is worn by practically everybody? I balk but that might be stupid. What are your criteria for going along with a fashion trend? Happy weekend, Sabine
I like to follow a trend, from a safe distance. In other words, first, it's got to look good on you. Second, I like to buy either the Uber-Item, the classic that sparks the trend, or a great subtle variation. I don't care for slavish knockoffs. This distinction can be hard to make. In fact, so hard that it might be imaginary:). So the criteria is a) fits me b) my definition of good design. Not too complicated, I'm afraid.
Lisa, I used to have your wonderful bumper sticker "That Behaviour Isn't Very Attractive." Unfortunately, it went with the car. Is there any way to get another? Ivy
I do believe those are all gone. But I am so pleased that you'd like to grace your new car with one, that I will go and see if I can unearth anything. Thank you for asking.
Dear LPC, Are you up for career advice? I was recently promoted to head a department reporting to an interim C-level person. The interim boss is a consultant in a temp to perm role who has been on the job for four weeks. We have totally different work and management styles. The boss is a micro-manager, to the point where I feel as though she is trying to do my job instead of allowing me to do it. She will often bypass me and go directly to my staff with request for work or a directive to change. I have already provided feedback that I need to be in the loop on these matters. Recently we were in a meeting with the CEO and she pulled out a framework for a project that we are supposed to start working on with the executive team. I had not seen this before and was quite taken aback since the interim boss called a meeting with me earlier in the day to go over what will be covered in the meeting with the CEO so we would be in sync. What made me even more upset was that the framework took into account one of my ideas without credit. I have concluded that the boss is a weasel and cannot see how I can ever trust her again. Is there an appropriate way for me to let the CEO know that I cannot work with this person as a consultant, let alone a permanent hire? For what it's worth, I have a good relationship with the CEO but we are not especially close. Your feedback on this situation would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
This is a tough one. You have to understand, the CEO really wants the new hire C-level to be successful. As he/she should. It's hard to hire C-level people, the chemistry becomes so important.
At the next level, I myself am a proponent of Never Speak Against Your Boss - at least not until you've done absolutely everything possible to make the relationship, and your boss, successful. However, I'm not per se in the majority here. So, bottom line, take your cue from your CEO. What does he/she want? Confidential messages from down low in the org? Go have the conversation. Strict adherence to the hierarchy? Stiff upper lip, do what you're told until you see that it would actually be bad for the business.
Tough, but that's why they pay us, right?
Hi Lisa, In need of some love advice here. I've been dating a guy for several months. He is smart, sweet, considerate, easy to talk to and usually pretty fun. We are really different in a few ways though, namely our backgrounds. I'm pretty middle-class, and he was raised quite poor. We are both in our 30s and working on our career ambitions. He is still struggling to establish himself in his career, which I trust will eventually happen, due to his strong work ethic. But sometimes I worry that, 1) our different backgrounds, opportunities and beliefs about what we "deserve" or should have access to are too great and will cause conflict, 2) I will become the primary breadwinner in our relationship if we continue for the long term (which maybe would be ok, actually, as long as he contributes in his own ways), and 3) perhaps what I'm most ashamed to admit, I'm afraid that if we do develop a long-term committed relationship, he will want to devote at least some of our shared resources to his extended family, who are still struggling with poverty. (He is quite devoted to his family and has mentioned working extra jobs in the past to support his mom and other relatives.) I hate feeling selfish, but want to build a relationship with someone I share many values and goals with. What is your opinion about relationship mis/matches in terms of background and finances?
I don't think the background mismatch is the issue, but a goal and expectation issue would be. It may not feel right to talk lifestyle and finances in the first blush of romance, heck, in my culture we don't like to talk finances ever, but it's foolhardy to ignore something so pervasive. Do you both aim for the same kind of life? Do you share certain key values and expectations around material comfort?
The issue of his family is, as my software friends say, orthogonal. No matter what resources his family has or does not have, the question is whether he wants to put you first, his family first, or at least you first as long as you are reasonable:). What loyalties does he have to them that may supersede what you believe you need? What, if any, unexplored pull do they have on him? A well-to-do family can ask things of a son just as much as a less well-resourced family.
All of this is something to really understand. And one final question. Do you, yourself, have an issue with his background per se? Does it embarrass you? Are you proud of him for who he is? I have found that pride in one's spouse, respect for who they are no matter where they came from, an admiration for who they have made themself into, is very important. I wish you all the best.
Hi Lisa. Love your blog - I'm new to it, but hooked already. Quick question for you. You mentioned in one of your previous blogs that you don't wear skinny jeans. Seems like a silly question, but as we're around the same age, I'm wondering if your decision to abstain has anything to do with what you consider age-appropriateness or simply body type. Thanks, and I'll be following! Judy
Oh, solely body type. I'm long-torsoed, and a V/X shape, so if I wear skinny jeans you see my shoulders, and then my lower hip AKA high upper thigh, and then immediately my feet. I just don't care for the proportions. Age-wise, if you're long of leg? Or carry weight in your upper thigh or waist? Go for it!
do you read blogs by teenagers, such as tavi gevinson and ophelia horton? what blogs DO you read and why?
I don't read teenage blogs, just because I don't currently know any teenagers. I read several blogs by women in their 20s and 30s, because I've gotten to know them via Twitter and the blogosphere. I read a host of blog by women of a certain age, 40s, 50,s 60,s 70s, focused on style. And then there are a few "big" blogs I read because I like their content.
If anyone wants me to read theirs, chime in. I will certainly take a look.
Love your style archetypes, thanks for the inspiration in fashion and life. It's great to be able to share thoughts and engage. We've been working to that with women via our virtual closet (http://www.fashion-ade.com/). We continue to make it better (relaunching the homepage and tweaking other tools next month) and welcome your input. Keep up the great blog, Ella (also in my 50's and from California)
Hello. I am about to embark on an exciting year long docent training program at a culturally rich and presigous museum in Sarasota, Florida. I want to look "like a docent", without looking any older than my 45 years. Any tips on how to dress stylishly, yet appropriately for conducting lengthy museum tours in my warm climate? Your thoughts are greatly valued by me, as I love your approach to style. Theirs is nothing on the Internet regarding "docent style". Help! Kathleen
We answered this on the blog, during the time when I could not access the Ask LPC functionality. Thank you again for asking.
Our 30 year old daughter (blonde hair, blue eyed, very pretty fun girl) is graduating next month from law school and we are considering buying her pearl earrings for a graduation gift. The question is what would be the best color choice, white or black pearls, to wear for business. I am concerned that white might be too "old" for her and if black is meeting appropriate.
I am by now WAY late on answering this, but here you go.
I'd say black. White are always nice, but black would be just a little different and therefore more fun.
I've followed your blog for years, and enjoy it. But lately it seems like you're advertising. Too many prices, sales, and not enough you.
What would you like me to write about?
My department is having a work retreat next month. The facilitator emailed all participants last week to ask what we'd like to talk about/do at the retreat. The focus of the retreat was left deliberately open-ended, and since I've never been to a work retreat before, I'm not totally sure what is common there. There are some serious issues within our department, including bullying, aggressive behavior from some of the leadership, and low morale among the rest (no doubt these are related). Is it appropriate for me to bring up these concerns in my response email to the facilitator? She said she would only share them with the department head in the aggregate.
I am sure that I've missed your timeline here, and I apologize. So my guidance would have been to note issues and not personnel. Name behaviors, not people. I hope your retreat was productive.
Lisa, I would welcome your opinion about pearls. I have an opera-length strand of 5 mm pearls, which were a graduation gift. I've worn them maybe three times in the last thirty-mumble years. They are lovely and boring and probably valuable but they remind me that, at 21, I wanted very much to be someone I was not--and, to my disappointment, they did not magically transform an Artsy-Sturdy from a new-to-the-upper-middle family into a patrician Muffy Aldrich. Is there an Artsy-Sturdy way to wear a plain string of pearls? (They are too big to wrap three times around the wrist, too small to wrap four times and boring both ways.) Or should I sell them?
5mm is small. I actually prefer them to 6mm, which seem to disappear into the wallpaper. You could have them restrung into a 3-strand wrist bracelet, and then have whatever remains made into two clusters to dangle from your ears. That configuration would actually do Artsy-Sturdy (my sweet spot) very well. The earrings would be like tow bunches of grapes, with the pearls hanging unevenly. Hmm. I quite like the picture in my mind. And the rattle of the pearls as you turn your head.
Hi Lisa, I just read your post on LV trunks and enjoyed it very much. We have an old LV trunk and would love to know more about it so I googled the name of the book hoping I could find one at a decent price (not a chance), but found a fabulous video on the trunks and the book. The link is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45Rnh0Ym09o I thought you might enjoy it. Best, Sam Hoffer My Carolina Kitchen
Thank you! What a cool video.
Any tips on negotiating a new job offer? Any particular advice from a woman's perspective?
I wish I could be more helpful. High WASPs are not good at negotiating because we think it's not polite. Even though we know we are being dumb. I have heard repeatedly that women NEVER ask for enough money.
I have a question about broad shoulders and button-front shirts. You regularly mention having "very broad shoulders" in your posts, and yet you also wear button-front shirts often. For instance, you've posted about a few you have from J. Crew. I cannot imagine fitting my shoulders into a J. Crew button-front that was even close to otherwise fitting - I have skirts and sleeveless dresses and tops from them in a size 4 that fit great. The largest one of their button-fronts I've ever tried on was a size 10 - when the shoulders on that were still too small, despite the shirt being a tent, I gave up. And it's like this, or worse, everywhere. So, who has the broadest-shouldered button fronts and jackets? Ever find any too big in the shoulder even for you? Right now I just wear sleeveless tops with cardigans every day (which don't fit either, but it's harder to tell with knits) and simply live with being unable to move my arms the 5-6 times a year I have to wear a suit. There must be a better way. Help!
Ah, good question. I have two ways to approach the issue.
1. Wear thin or stretch fabrics. Then the fact that the shoulder seam is up on your neck doesn't matter so much.
2. Take your shirt to the tailor and have them take in the ribcage. This works very well.
The tailor may look at you funny, just ignore them:).
What's your take on turtlenecks? I like them for the winter because they keep my neck warm and cozy, but a brief internet search found that many people HATE turtlenecks on women. Find them really unsexy, because they cover up one of our most feminine parts. Now, I don't need to be sexy all the time, especially at work. But I don't want to be particularly UNsexy. Do you have any ideas/inspiration for wearing turtlenecks in a way that is still feminine and, um, pretty? I'm a Sturdy Gal in my 30s (haven't hit menopause yet, which I understand makes this dilemma irrelevant for many women).
Yes! I like them for the winter too. I find that ribbed turtlenecks are both flattering and warm. A skinny rib, or a wide wale, in cashmere. Now those cotton thingies I wore in college in the 70s, and now wear only to ski, they are a lost cause if you're after a little male appeal.
Hello, I have some questions about a fall work wardrobe - grey, navy or black suit? If two, which two? You once recommended a grey suit with a white shirt and flat black shoes as a go-to-uniform. Petite female, dark hair, light skin, municipal engineer. I live and work in a WP culture (WASP, minus the A-S part)that I wasn't born into.
I choose gray first, these days, and navy second. And I still say that uniform works. The only thing is, the dark hair and fair skin might mean you will look better in navy or black. All of those choices are just fine for the culture - it's just about your skin tone and coloring. You get to choose:).
Hello Lisa, Two things: 1. I ran across this article and thought it might interest you. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/13/opinion/brooks-why-our-elites-stink.html 2. I love your blog. Never, never stop writing. ~Victoria
Interesting link. Thank you.
Good Morning! I've been an enthusiastic reader for over a year (although being on the WASP spectrum, myself, I've been enthusiastic in a low-key, unlikely to bring unwelcome attention sort of way...) As I was reading your blog, today, it struck me that I am not sure of the Style Archetype equivalent for male WASPs. Do we not have any? Thanks for your writing, Rob
Great description of the type of enthusiasm this culture fosters:). I do have a post for the male of the species, here. http://amidprivilege.com/2009/12/do-you-fit-high-wasp-male-style-archetypes-2/. Short, but not wholly incorrect. My father also did a post on neckties. If you click on the High WASP men category in the right hand sidebar, you might find a little more. But the real answer is that I have an entire chapter written about High WASP men and women, and I'm trying to decide whether to persevere in the book direction or simply release it all here on the blog.
Hello Lisa, Many thanks for your lovely blog! I appreciate your eye for style and aesthetic as I can relate to the challenges and thrills that classy dressing presents these days. My questions for you relates to job interviews. I'm in my mid-twenties and preparing for an upcoming interview with a conservative apparel company in the northeast for a sales position. What color pumps do you recommend for a dark navy suit? I read your post about which colors compliment navy, and I didn't see any specifics for which colors are best for dark navy. My instinct is to wear black patent pumps. Beyond Ferragamos are there other brands you might recommend for their classic pumps? Based on your descriptions, my personal style runs between sturdy and grand dame, and my budget is modest (no more than $200, I'm afraid). Also in your estimation can I still pair a black bag with navy if the navy is quite dark? Again, my thanks for your time and suggestions! - AEF
If the navy is not too dark, yes, black patent is perfect. However, if you risk the is it navy or is it black, did she make a mistake when picking her shoes problem, I'd think about chocolate brown. Especially stamped in a crocodile pattern to add just a wee bit of interest. Now, as for brands under $200, I apologize, but that's not my sweet spot. I do recommend you wear something made by the clothier you're interviewing with, if at all possible.
Emergency! You're the first person I thought of to help. This is not about women's clothing, but it is about clothing codes and correctness. Four-year-old boys' formal clothes: not a business suit or a tuxedo, right? Those are menswear, right? How can I convince someone that they should not buy suits for her twin boys? I can't even find good pictures of what I see in my mind's eye, but I know it doesn't involve lapels, neckties, leather belts, or even any tailoring to speak of.
What is the occasion? If the boys are going to be in a wedding, I think it can be sort of cute to put little guys in khakis, a polo shirt, and a little navy jacket. Or seersucker. No ties. But if this is for regular, unweddinged living, what on earth would you do this for? Four year old boys don't really have formal clothes. In summer, for a party, they might wear long navy shorts and clean navy polos. In winter, a polo under a dark sweater, and dark pants. But since they are apt to remove whatever you put them in, I can't say I'd invest a lot of money:).
I love your joy of life! Would you have some suggestions on a present to bring new friends when accepting an invitation to thier home? Here's the setting - my husband and I were recently invited to another couple's home for a fun day of boating and relaxing. We brought a big arrangement of flowers, and some nice wine. We have been invited back next weekend, so I would like to bring something other than flowers and alcohol. Thoughts? Thank you ever so much!
My favorite hostess gift, for someone who has a second house, is something for the guest bath. Nicely packaged soaps, a set of hand towels from Gumps, etc. Otherwise, food is ALWAYS good, since it gets consumed. Something local, i.e. from round here I'd bring Cowgirl creamery cheeses. An abundance of inexpensive things is better than one big - feels celebratory. I hope you have a good time with these friends this summer.
Hey List. I was just wondering if you ever feature other sites or other sites items on your blog? I do a lot of online work for http://www.ylangylang.com/ and would love if you would look at them. Pretty much that's it, just look at them. OK, that was a joke, it would be great if you could blog about them, or we could start some sort of relationship. It doesn't hurt to ask right. Have a great day. James
Of course. I looked at them:).
Hi Lisa, In case you want more helpful advice for the question about negotiating a job offer: I recently read the book "Ask For It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want," by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever. It gives very practical advice for negotiating both at work (with salaries, benefits, etc) and at home with partners (regarding chores, child care, etc). I really recommend this book!
Thank you for the suggestion. I may even read it myself:).
Lisa: Wanted to share this with you post contest: a blog post I wrote 3 or so years ago about my lifetime of footwear disasters. Enjoy! http://flatrockcreeknotebook.com/2010/04/18/do-not-go-gentle-into-that-bad-clogosphere/
Thank you! Sorry it took a while - was inundated with spam. At least it was French spam:).
Hi Lisa! I just read your post on boyfriend jeans. I am also a recent convert - they are comfortable and flattering if you don't go oversized and baggy. Did you wear the same size in all 4 brands? I see the Gap jeans were a size 26. Did I miss the other sizes? Now if I could find a comfortable jean that's less casual, I'd be content! Thanks, Monica
Oh gosh you're right, I left that info out. Yes, they are all size 26. When I want to wear fitted pants, I will buy a size 25, zip myself into them and then jump around to get them correctly stretched:).
Hello Lisa, I just found your blog via Passage des Perles. I need some dress advice. I too live and work in Silicon Valley, though I am a newcomer. I would like some recommendations where to go shopping, here and in the city. I am in the market for a wonderful dress - I will be the Mother of the Bride for a Nov. 9th wedding in Minnesota (so I'll want sleeves). Not a long gown, but a fabulous, fabulous dress that I will look wonderful in and expresses my joy at being here and alive for this important moment in my daughter's life. I am more of the Sturdy Gal archetype with a bit of Artistic Cousin. I am 5'8" and 120 lbs. 61 years young. Where should I look? Anne
Anne, with your height and silhouette, sounds like you can carry off a wide range of styles. I have to send you to M.A.C., Modern Appealing Clothing, to test the avant-garde Belgian designers. That's where I bought my Dries van Noten, and I could really imagine you in something brocade but architectural. It's fall now, so the clothes should all be plenty warm for Minnesota. If you want something slightly less edgy, my go-to department store is Nordstrom. And then, there's always online. Net-a-porter offers a wonderful buying experience - I recommend them highly. Congrats to you and felicitations to your daughter!
Good Sunday afternoon, Just found your blog and am delighted to have my questions regarding appropriate U.S. style post-50 answered. As a northerner of the Canadian Queen Street West variety, transplanted to the southern United States, about to join the corporate U.S. workforce after a sojourn back at school (information systems and computer science, thank you for asking), am looking for brand/line recommendations for appropriate corporate clothing. I'm looking to acquire a plus-size suit appropriate for interviews and presentations, plus appropriate office wear which will stand up to the requisite crawling under desks to connect components at any time. Given that I was working in graphic design for the printing industry prior to this, heretofore, I've lived in denim, corduroy, and fashion/arty casual. I'd describe my personal style as a wavering, at various times, in the direction of all three of your archtypes. Various friends have suggested a shopping expedition to Nordstrom's, Atlanta; but am also looking for shirts and shoes recommendations. Any suggestions as to sources?
Congratulations on your new job, and new career direction. I am going to direct your question to the commenters here - the South is different. I do know that plus size is hard to come by, in the kind of quality and style you might like. Saks has their Salon Z - is there a Saks in Atlanta? But in terms of just where to shop, and what to wear, I have to defer to those who know the ways of that part of the country.
Hi Lisa, I like your blog, however I'm a bit puzzled as why you have no presence on Facebook? I would love to see more "live" interactions with your fans. I have an online store - well-picked thrift finds - for women over 40, and would love to collaborate - looking forward to hearing from you! p.s. - am in California, too... http://dalitika.com Best regards, Dalit Fresco
Well hello! I do have a Facebook account, but it's very small. For public real-time communication, I'm on Twitter and always respond there. @AmidPrivilege - would be glad to say hello.
Hi thwere ~ I am looking for a Biker Jacket.. But want an authentic looking one like the one you have posted on this site....waisted, belted, zips snaps etc. Do they exist anymore? The only ones I can find that come close is Schott Perfecto, but it is made in a deliate lambskin. I am from NYC and will probably wear it here mostly with skirts or jeans, but want a cowhide for a more rugged durable, with an oldstyle fit. Not liking the stylized ones I've been seeing around. Also I am 4 petite, 64 yrs young(luckily don't look it) and am a fashion designer, fashionista but cool and not over the top. If you know where I can find the one you have on the site page (not the stylized All Saints), please let me know. Thank you
I'm so sorry, but I found that image on Google Image and there was no retail outlet specified.
After your (gorgeous) post of your wedding beautification routine, can you tell us what Apriori products you use, and which you would recommend for "mature" sensitive skin? Thanks for your blog - a newcomer and enjoy every post....
My Apriori rep, Candace, answered your question in these comments. If you want more details, please let me know and maybe I will have her do a guest post.
I just discovered you - your 'banner' approach to your fashion really struck a chord with me - that is my desire! I so connect with your style, and the fact that you are going real on your hair. Me too. I am proud to say I am going to be 50 in a little over a month, and I am excited! I have lost a decent amount of weight in the last few years, and feel I really am more joyful about the way I look than ever before! I am really joyful about Jesus, too. I love a tailored look, subtle, earthy colors, BLACK BLACK BLACK, and really earthy, low-key but texture-y jewelry (although I don't wear earrings, I LOVE neckaces and chunky rings). I want to look classy, elegant, fab for my husband, and current (hip). What a joy it has been to buy clothes again... I will be following you - not in a creepy way, mind you; in a healthy bloggery way. Blessings - did you get married very recently? Oh, sorry, no question. Oh, wait! Where do you typically shop? I am on a budget and live in the DC suburbs.
Welcome, and my apologies for the delay in responding. I have shopped everywhere from the Prada store in San Francisco to Target and UNIQLO, my favorites for low-cost high-function basics. In the midrange I find myself most often in J. Crew. Enjoy your shopping!
Hi Lisa. I know you think that Johnston's of Elgin is the best cashmere -- what's size do you take in it, and what size do you take in JCrew, for comparison? I'm eager to buy, and don't believe their size chart's instruction that I'm an XS. Depending on the online conversion chart I'm consulting, I'm an XS, S, or M. East Coast snow has me eager to spend lavish amounts on their sale items. Thanks very much. Jennifer
Oh, I've only bought from Brora! The recommendation of Elgins comes from Tabith at Bourbon and Pearls. In Brora I wear a 12 - does Elgins offer a S->8 kind of matrix? Stay warm! You guys have really had the winter!
Hi Lisa, I love your blog! I have especially enjoyed your posts on your own wardrobe choices, such as details of your work wardrobe and "dressing well without Chanel." I also loved the post on dressing for an academic career, since I am indeed an academic. So, if it is not too personal to ask, how have you resolved your casual wardrobe for those days and hours when you are not at work? I am just about your age, so I feel like I should have figured this out on my own already, but I am looking for ideas. The jeans/cords and colorful Shetland sweaters of my 20s and 30s (worn with collared blouses underneath) gave way to jeans/cords and crew necked cashmere cardigans in my 40s - but both look frumpy on me now that I am in my 50s, and I seem to be having a midlife casual style crisis. I do love your Sturdy Girl leanings, especially the part about comfortable shoes. Thanks for all you do!
I hope that my recent floundering about sweatpants and sneakers makes clear that I share your casual style conundrum. So I also hope that once I make my way through this process, whatever answers or even whatever questions have been raised can prove useful to you. Thank you, in turn, for reading. Sorry it's taken so long to answer, technical problems, now very happily resolved.
It's 2014 and I've only just discovered two things: 1) your blog (thank you! not only is the substance frank and refreshing, but the delivery is a delight!) and 2) WASPs - not the category, but live ones in my social outskirts. Even though I was previously cognizant of my family's historic position in the American hierarchy (we were "ethnic whites") I thought that due to changing times and social mobility all that was behind us, and by us I'm referring to American society. I was wrong. For the first time in my 34 years I was recently confronted with two back-to-back questions that were probably more common in a different era: "What's your family's last name? - Hmm, never heard of it" and "What sorority did you join?" - the assumption being that I had joined a sorority at all. Although the questions were posed in the most gracious tones, there was something about them that felt like shots across the bow, and I'm sure that at least some WASPs might have found them a little forward. This experience has only served to reignite in me an inexplicably all-consuming curiosity about social class in America, in particular one very silly aspect of it. I would very much like to ask someone about it even though the question is crass. A few years ago I watched a PBS documentary called "People Like Us" that attempted to portray how different American social groups live. In it, a WASP explains that there are certain words that divide us, and that there are some words that are so dreadful she is embarrassed even to hear them. Those are "lingerie," "evening gown," and "drapes" (instead of curtains). Are many WASPs repulsed by these specific words? Or does this vary from family to family like many idioms do ? Thank you for being a resource and accepting enough to make your readers feel comfortable asking such questions. Regards, Amy
Amy, nice to meet you. It was very rude of someone to say they'd never heard of your last name. And odd. And silly. Sounds like an attack, and a poor one at that. We don't like rude people:).
And as for the words, yes, it's true. We don't call our houses our "homes." They are houses. But we do go home. We don't say "gown," we say "dress." And we never, ever make the mistake of using "lay" when we mean "lie." But, if we have been well-loved as children, we know to put aside our prejudices and be more concerned with someone's good faith and intelligence than any markers of class. Or at least to try as best we can.
I am recently separated and middle aged. I wanted to contact a high wasp man I dated briefly more than 30 years ago in New York City. We had a fling, then he dumped me. He rode a motorcylce, flies a plane to the island where he now lives and is much more financially privileged than I, though we have similar educational backgrounds. I know it's silly and unproductive , but I don't have any one else to fantasize about now. (I see you married, for the second time, to an attractive, young-looking, man.)
Fantasies are part of human nature. But I'd have to say, fantasies about those who dumped us are probably the least productive. Isn't there someone from your past that you let go, and might think about recontacting instead? This is another situation where, as they say, It Gets Better. All my best to you.
Hi I just found your blog. Luv it. Maybe you answered this question. Have you had psychotherapy? I really appreciate your sense of self awareness. And.. since I'm new. does your site have a search function? I found a list of manners the other day and I want to go back and read it. And... this "Ask" section is nice, I don't need to leave my email.
Nice to meet you! I have had therapy twice, each time for about a year. But my brother is a psychoanalyst, so maybe the self-analysis is borrowed? In fact, I think I just am prone to analyze everything and don't exempt myself. Glad you like the Ask page, and yes, there is a search function, in the RH sidebar. Thank you for reading.
Hello, I recently discovered your wonderful blog. I have a question I'm wondering if you could help with. I am in need of a quality pair of black pumps (with a heel, but not too much!), for occasional use only, such as random dressy occasions, funerals, etc. Problem is always fit, I have a very, very wide foot with a high instep. I have never found a pair of heels that I can comfortably wear. Could you recommend any brands I might try? I live in a small city with little shopping options. Online searches for wide shoes generally lead me to less expensive, "sensible" options. For reference, I am 50, 5'4", 115 lbs., size 6 shoe. I am happy to spend, if I could find something that doesn't torture me. Thank you for your enjoyable blog! Lisa
If when you say you have a wide foot, you mean a wide metatarsal (vs. the heel), you and I have similar feet:). In which case, I have found that the lasts for Ferragamos and for Stuart Weitzman are the most reliably comfortable of the classic dressy shoes. If you want an extra level of comfort, look at the Beautifeel range, but you will not find equivalent elegance there. I'd go to the Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus websites and order several pairs and try them on. You might also look here, http://www.berenshoes.com/, as they carry elegant/comfort brands like Thierry Rabotin. Best of luck!
My BFF is an eminent neuroscientist. As a result of her position as an endowed Professor at a major medical school earned through the sheer brilliance of her prolific and ground-breaking published research coupled with this rare skill-set: she assists neurosurgeons in the OR several times weekly; she also speaks in the US and all over the world, 8-10 times a year at symposia & board meetings. Question: in the world of "geeks and nerds", she states she must be very careful to always look "like a scientist." She prefers natural fibers and always wears pants. I've met her at these gatherings and she does stand out: 1)because she's gorgeous: long blonde hair; blue eyes; full lips; 5'7"; thin; Caucasian, and, of course, that oddity: a woman. She wears only black or ivory. When she visited in 1/31, I had her sample different colors against her flawless peaches & cream complexion as I feel her use of black with ivory tops is harsh in contrast and she needs a bit of color. She tried on a few different pastel tunics & perked up visibly. I had her slip on a pr. of red driving shoes. "Just like Dorothy--if she'd grown up to be a Wizard!", she joked. She wore the shoes home and packed the light blue cotton embroidered tunic from India in her suitcase. We shopped and located to her delight the birthday gift she'd asked for: a pr. of 15mm Tahitian black pearls w/ a .33 carat diamond attached set in white gold for everyday to soften her all-black look. She departed more open to color than when she arrived. What would you advise a scientific academic to wear that's both serious and acknowledges her femininity? Or does her beauty (her pretty face--that's all you see) do all the talking under shapeless drawstring pants and loose jackets?
She should dress however supports her goals! The Use Case Methodology. Sounds like she is doing the professional dressing just right to support her success - what she looks like in terms of color etc. is really secondary. Unless she also cares about aesthetics, and/or is looking for a partner. When finding a romantic partner, it is best to maximize one's physical attractiveness:).
I'm not going to the oscars, but it happens I am going to the MTV movie awards in April. I'll be visiting my daughter in Los Angeles then, she got tickets for us. What on earth should I wear?
Wow! I don't know what I'd wear in that situation! What does your daughter think? In the presenc that much cool I I guess I'd maximize my I Am Old And I Am Proud Of It factor:). So hair down long and gray, and a monochromatic outfit? Oh lord. I really don't know! I can ask my cool young Internet friends who live in LA what they would do. Let me know if I should send out a Twitter request for guidance. I imagine, in the end, you should wear whatever you and your daughter think is fun:).